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How to Conduct/Defend Departmental Inquiry
Sequential Steps covering a Departmental
Inquiry - Part: 2

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Sequential Steps covering a Departmental Inquiry - Part:2 - Guidelines
Of CVC For Conducting Investigation - (Preliminary Inquiry)

The preliminary enquiry may be made in several ways depending upon the nature of allegations and the judgment of the Investigating Officer. Detailed guidelines are provided by CVC in its Manual, and these are reproduced in the Chapter titled Investigation2 and continued in Chapter titled Investigation3 Please peruse the guidelines from the source as above.

After the preliminary enquiry has been completed, the officer conducting the enquiry should prepare a self-contained report including the material available to controvert the defence. The investigation report should contain the explanation of the suspect officer (referred to above). The fact that an opportunity during investigation was given to the officer concerned should be mentioned in the Investigation report, even if the officer did not avail of it. The vigilance organisation should also take in their possession all connected documents, as this becomes very helpful, if later on departmental action has to be taken against the officer.

The Investigating Officer will submit his report to the disciplinary authority who will decide whether on the basis of the facts disclosed in the report of the preliminary enquiry, the complaint should be dropped or whether regular departmental proceedings should be instituted against the public servant concerned or the administration of a warning or caution would serve the purpose.

The decision whether departmental action should be taken against a public servant should be taken by the authority competent to award appropriate penalty specified in the C.C.S. (C.C.A) Rules or relevant Discipline and Appeal Rules. In cases where during the course of the preliminary enquiry or before a decision is taken on the report of the preliminary enquiry, a public servant is transferred to another post, the decision should be taken by the disciplinary authority of the latter post.

In cases pertaining to officers covered under compulsory advisory jurisdiction of CVC, the disciplinary authority should, before taking a decision, forward the report of the preliminary enquiry, together with all relevant documents and papers and its proposal as regards further course of action, through the CVO, to the Central Vigilance Commission for advice. Such consultation is necessary even in cases in which it is thought that the preliminary enquiry reveals that there is no substance in the allegations to justify any further action and it is proposed to close the case. Attention, however, is invited to earlier guidelines, regarding investigation of anonymous/pseudonymous complaints.

As soon as it is decided by the disciplinary authority to institute disciplinary proceedings against the public servant or public servants concerned, the complaint should be regarded as having taken the shape of a Vigilance case/Disciplinary case.

Pre charge sheet procedure is not codified or explained in PNB. The material has been extensively drawn from the Manual of CVC. Reference to the CVC Manual can be seen from its web site.

Post Charge Sheet- Pre-enquiry Stage - DA Regulation 6(2) to 6(12)
  1. Issue of charge sheet to Delinquent officer ( 2 to 3 weeks) [6(3)]

  2. Written statement of delinquent officer Received [6(4)]
  3. Appointment of inquiry officer (IO) & presenting officer (PO) and forwarding relevant material to both[6(2) & 6(6)]
  4. Delinquent officer asked by disciplinary authority to nominate defence assisting officer[6(7)]
  5. Delinquent officer (CO) nominates his DAO and advises disciplinary authority, IO and PO.
  6. Case Preparation by P.O.
  7. PO requests IO to fix date for preliminary inquiry
  8. IO issues summons for preliminary inquiry to PO, CO and DAO. [6(8)(a)]
  9. IO advises controlling authority to relieve DAO for Inquiry

Objectives of the stage.
  1. Disciplinary authority to appoint inquiry officer & presenting officer

  2. PO on receipt of order of appointment should study the case history and make preparation for the presentation of the charges in the inquiry

Inquiry officer appointed should be senior in status to the charged office. He should not have acted as inquiry officer earlier in respect of the same charged officer. He should not be the immediate administrative head of the charged officer.

Detailed guidelines for the presenting officer, who has the main role to play in this stage are given in the role profile of the presenting officer.

Stage -3 - Preliminary Enquiry & Opportunities to CO for case Preparation
Leading to Commencement of Regular Inquiry (4 weeks)
  1. Preliminary Inquiry proceedings commences [6(8)(b), 6(9)]

  2. PO arranges inspection of original records by CO/DAO in respect of list of documents submitted by him [6(10)(a) & 6(10)(b)(i) &(iii)]
  3. CO submits list of defence documents/witness (additional documents & witness for the inquiry) to IO & PO [6(10)(b)((ii)&(iv)]
  4. IO scrutinizes the list and approves the documents/witnesses. IO sends advise to custodians for discovery of the additional documents for the inquiry.[6(11) & 6(12)
  5. PO arranges for discovery/verification of defence documents
  6. IO fixes date for regular inquiry and sends summons to PO, CO, DAO and all witnesses (both listed & additional). Copies of the summons sent to the respective controlling authorities of PO, CO, DAO and individual witnesses.

objectives of the stage.
  1. Entire material against the charged employee should be made known to him.

  2. Charged officer should be given due opportunities to prepare his defence and collect necessary material therefor.

Detailed guidelines for the presenting officer, who has the main role to play in this stage are given in the role profile of the Presenting officer.

Stage -4 - Regular Inquiry (1 week)
  1. Regular Inquiry starts[6(13)]

  2. PO files listed documents [6(13)]
  3. Listed witnesses examined[6(13)]
  4. PO closes Management case [6(14)]
  5. CO files Defence Statement[6(15)]
  6. CO files additional documents[6(16)]
  7. Additional witness examined[6(16)]
  8. IO seeks clarification from PO of circumstances appearing against him.[ 6(17)]
  9. Regular Inquiry closes [6(18)]

Objective - (main role - inquiry officer )
  1. Be objective & hear both sides. But do not allow CO to adopt delaying practice.

  2. Do not allow non-issues to be brought in.
  3. Follow proceedings attentively and act as a moderator during examination of witnesses.
  4. IO has the option to ask additional questions or call for additional witness or documents, if required.
  5. Inquire CO on evidence as analysed appearing against him

Essentials covered in the role profile of inquiry officer.

Stage -5: Submission of Report by IO (4weeks)
Objectives
  1. Consider only material as per records of inquiry. [Records of Inquiry described in Regulation 6(21)(ii) (b) t (e)]

  2. Weigh evidences on both sides objectively and draw conclusions for each imputation separately.
  3. Give reasons for your final verdict

Sequential Steps
  1. PO submits his brief to IO and forwards copy to CO. If PO fails to submit a copy of his brief to the CO, it will amount to PO arguing the disciplinary case in the back of the charged officer (i.e. in his absence) [G.I.M.H.A.(Dept. of Personnel & AR.)OM.No.11012/18/77-Estt(A)dated the 2nd September, 1978]

  2. CO submits his brief
  3. IO scrutinizes the evidence in total and submits his report to Disciplinary Authority [6(21)]

Stage 6: Action on Enquiry Report (2 to 3 weeks) 7(1) to 7(4)
Objectives
  1. Consider only material as per records of inquiry

  2. Weigh evidences on both sides objectively and draw conclusions
  3. Give reasons for your final verdict.

Sequential Steps
  1. Disciplinary authority forwards IO's report to CO for second stage natural justice.

  2. CO forwards his submissions on the Report of IO to the disciplinary authority

  3. Disciplinary authority scrutinizes the report of IO, submissions of the CO and the entire records of the inquiry.
  4. Disciplinary authority submits his Orders on the disciplinary case and sends copy to the CO and the controlling authority of the CO
  5. Controlling authority implements the orders of the disciplinary authority.

Common Proceedings- Guidelines

Where two or more Public servants are concerned in any case, the disciplinary authority may make an order directing that disciplinary action against all of them be taken in a common proceeding. Such proceedings must be ordered by the Disciplinary Authority competent to take action on the senior-most officer employee concerned among the delinquent officers against whom proceedings are commonly initiated and the same disciplinary authority will receive the report of the inquiry officer and take action on the same.

Instances where Penalties can be Imposed without
Conducting a Regular Inquiry
  1. where any penalty is proposed to be imposed on a Public Servant on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge, or

  2. where the disciplinary authority is satisfied for reasons to be recorded by it in writing that it is not reasonably practicable to hold an inquiry in the manner provided in the DA Regulations

Consultation With CVC>

Though the powers of the Commission extends to all public servants, as a policy the Commission exercises compulsory jurisdiction only in respect of Officers of the rank of Scale III and above in public sector banks

The scheme of consultation with the Commission in respect of major penalty cases pertaining to such officers envisages consultation with the Commission at two stages. The first stage of consultation arises when initiating disciplinary proceedings, while second stage consultation is required before a final decision is taken at the conclusion of the proceedings. It follows, therefore, that the Commission should also be consulted for second stage advice in cases where the disciplinary authority having initiated action for major penalty proceedings proposes to close the case on receipt of the written statement of the charged officer.

In cases in which minor penalty proceedings were instituted on the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission, consultation with the Commission at the stage of imposition of the penalty is not necessary if the disciplinary authority decides to impose one of the minor penalties. In such cases a copy of the order imposing minor penalty should be endorsed to the Commission. This does not apply to minor penalty cases where oral inquiry has been ordered. In such cases, the Commission would tender second stage advice after considering the report of the Inquiring Authority. This does not also apply to cases where the disciplinary authority decides not to impose any of the minor penalties. In other words, cases in which the disciplinary authority decides to hold oral Inquiry or to drop the proceeding will have to be referred to the Commission. While referring the case, the records of the case will have to be sent to the Commission. Where any statement have been made in the representation of the Government servant to controvert the allegations, the Commission's attention will be specifically drawn to the correct facts.

Please also refer detailed Role-profile of IO,PO & FAQ on Departmental Inquiry

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